Terror attack kills 21 in Mumbai

Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India's busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing 21 people and wounding 141 in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

Bloody bodies were strewn in the dirt of Mumbai's crowded neighborhoods and markets. Doors were ripped off storefronts, motorcycles were charred and a bus stop was shredded. After the blasts in three separate neighborhoods, police set up checkpoints and were put on high alert.



The bombings came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan, which New Delhi has blamed for past attacks.



Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed to the people of Mumbai "to remain calm and show a united face."



There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and Indian officials refused to speculate on who might be behind the blasts.



Indian officials have accused Pakistan's powerful spy agency of helping coordinate and fund earlier attacks, including the Mumbai siege, which killed 166 people over three days. Peace talks between the countries were suspended after the siege and resumed only recently.



Pakistan's government expressed distress about the loss of lives and injuries soon after Wednesday's blasts were reported.



U.S. President Barack Obama also condemned the "outrageous attacks."



"The American people will stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and we will offer support to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice," he said in a statement. "I have no doubt that India will overcome these deplorable terrorist attacks."



Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will go ahead with her plans to visit India next week despite the bombings. Standing with India "is more important than ever," she said.



The bombings began with an explosion that ripped through the famed Jhaveri Bazaar jewelry market at 6:54 p.m. A minute later, a blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, several miles (kilometers) away in southern Mumbai. At 7:05 p.m., the third bomb exploded in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai, according to police.



Because of the close timing of the blasts, "we infer that this was a coordinated attack by terrorists," Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.



A lifeless body lay on a cart. Survivors carried the wounded to taxis. One man was dragged out of the area on a red board used as a stretcher. Bleeding victims crowded into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital, where wards were filled with the wounded, slathered in white burn cream.



At Jhaveri Bazaar, a witness described two motorcycles exploding in flames and saw at least six bodies.



"People were shouting 'Help me, help me,"' the man told Headlines Today television.



People hugged and wept. Crowds gathered in the blast areas as police questioned witnesses, and investigators wearing gloves sifted through the debris for clues.



The government said the blasts killed 21 people and wounded 141 others.



"India is not going to cow down," Cabinet minister Farooq Abdullah said. "Let those perpetrators of this terror remember, we will find them and Inshallah (God willing) we will give them the justice that India believes in."



A U.S. official said there were no immediate claims of responsibility, or firm indication of which terrorist group might be behind the attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.



The blasts marked the first major attack on Mumbai since 10 militants laid siege to the city for 60 hours in November 2008. That attack targeted two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station.



C. Uday Bhaskar, a defense analyst, said the bombings showed that Mumbai remained vulnerable despite precautions taken after the 2008 attack.



"The local police still does not have either the capability or the capacity to pre-empt such attacks, and this is going to be a constant challenge," he said.



Some media incorrectly reported Wednesday's blasts happened on the birthday of Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Kasab, who was sentenced to death in Mumbai, was born on Sept. 13.



The city has been on edge since the 2008 attack. In December, authorities deployed extra police on city streets after receiving intelligence that a Pakistan-based militant group was planning an attack over New Year's weekend.



In March 2010, Mumbai police said they prevented a major terrorist strike after they arrested two Indian men, who, police said, were preparing to hit several targets in the city. In September, police issued a terror alert for the city during a popular Hindu festival.



Last month, India and Pakistan held their first formal talks on the disputed region of Kashmir since the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Both nuclear-armed nations claim Kashmir in its entirety, and have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£28500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique corp...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Product Support Specialists

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in the design...

Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat